From Facebook, Apple, Twitter, The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal, the growing list of companies that have fallen victim to hackers reads like Who’s Who in American businesses.
That might lead small and medium sized business owners to conclude one of two things: they’re protected from hack attacks because they’re too small to be tantalizing targets. Or even if they aren’t safe, there’s nothing they can do to protect themselves.
The reality is both of these assumptions are dead wrong. And for the average business owner, either of them could prove to be fatal.
For Cybercriminals Planning Hack Attacks, Small is Beautiful
According to a recent Identity Breach Report by Constalla, small to medium sized businesses have become hackers’ main targets, resulting in a whopping 424% increase in just two years. Why? Because cybercrime organizations using automated hacking can steal as much or more data from them with less risk of getting caught.
The truth is that small businesses now represent 43% of all cyberattacks, according to Accenture. But only 14% of small businesses are prepared for such attacks, as they don’t have adequate device protection or backup systems in place. And with the average cyberattack costing businesses $200,000, it only takes one attack to put most businesses out of business forever. 60% of businesses that suffer from such a cyberattack go out of business within the same year.
Small Business Owners Still Believe They Are Safe
According to Keeper Security’s 2019 SMB Cyberthreat Study, nearly two thirds of small business owners still believe they are unlikely to be targeted by online criminals. Similarly, 6 in 10 have no security plan in place at all, which underscores the need for heightened awareness and education across the board.
Add on to this additional expenses such as regulatory compliance, investigative fees, attorneys’ fees, and loss of customer revenue, not to mention relationships, and costs associated with cyber attacks can quickly multiply.
Many cyberattacks against small and medium sized businesses use sophisticated malware and social engineering techniques that fly under the radar of conventional security tools.
Remember, the cost of just one hack attack can far exceed the cost of implementing security procedures to protect your company’s online security.
Make It Your Business to Protect Your Business from Hackers
Below are ways that you can protect your business:
● Make sure your firewall is turned on and all your company’s software is up to date. That means everything from your operating system and your web browser to virus, spyware and malware detection software. Run frequent scans.
● Educate your employees about security procedures and policies.
● Change the default identifier and the administrative password that your router was shipped with.
● Use strong passwords for your employees – a complex combination of letters, numbers and symbols that are difficult for others to guess.
● Set your company’s system and browser security settings at medium or higher.
● Remove unnecessary data by eliminating it safely or storing it securely and regularly monitoring it.
● Have a network security audit performed to find out whether your company has any security vulnerabilities.
● Disable file sharing on company laptops used in the field. Make sure they have adequate security protection in case they’re lost or stolen.
● Make sure your company limits access to sensitive information in your network.
● If your company is hacked, don’t try to hide it. Know your state’s data breach notification laws. They can require reporting breaches to customers and law enforcement officials in every state where you do business.
● One of the most important things you can do to safeguard your small business is to use a virtual private network solution like Remote WorkForce VPN for protection against hackers.
Remote WorkForce VPN encrypts the data traveling to and from your computers, making it invisible to hackers. That’s especially important when employees use personal or company laptops to conduct business at wifi hotspots and other unsecure networks.
So if you are a small business owner who has never thought about security, or if you always meant to but never got around to it, take the first step towards protecting your company and your company’s future by using Remote WorkForce VPN.